The game that pissed me off the most last year was our trip to Raleigh to face the NC State Wolfpack. They took us to overtime in what I thought was our worst performance of the season; nevertheless, we escaped with the win. Today, on a short turnaround for both teams, would the Wolfpack be able to return the favor this year?
Stop me if you’ve heard this before. Virginia falls behind early, (maybe the lead balloons a bit), the Cavs scratch back in the second half to take the lead late, only to fall short in the closing minutes. We avoided the “late-game failure” part in beating Georgia Tech, but all the elements were in full force tonight.
Casey Morsell. This was Morsell’s most encouraging outing since Arizona State. He was engaged from the minute he stepped on the court, driving to rim on his first couple of touches. He stepped out of bounds on his first and was fouled on the second, but the energy and intensity was there. He played 32 minutes (after logging a combined 44 minutes in the previous four games), scored 9 points (included an important 3), had five boards and a block and a steal. He was whistled for two fouls that I thought were actually really sound defensive plays. This Casey Morsell showed he could contribute at the ACC level.
The Texas Two-Step. As in one step forward, two steps back. It seems to be the theme for our crew, and tonight it was Tomas Woldetensae who took those two steps back. After a pair of games where his successful 3-point shooting was giving a glimmer of hope to the team and providing better spacing for Jay Huff and Mamadi Diakite, Woldetensae looked a step slow and lost most of his minutes to Morsell.
3-point shooting. 3 – 12 on the night. We really are just a 25% team from deep. At least we’re not bombing 20 -25 threes a night anymore, so that is some progress, I guess.
10 minute Cavalanche. Oh wait. This is a negative, for while we held the Wolfpack scoreless for well over 10 minutes in the second half, we only scored 13 points in that great run of play.
Braxton Key. I don’t know if he’s right yet. He had all 8 of his points in ten minutes in the first half, never scored again and ended up 3 – 11 on the night. He was out most of the second half and was conspicuously absent on D when Markell Johnson and CJ Bryce hit the shots that propelled NC State to victory. Speaking of which…
We don’t have anyone on the team who can make these shots.
Kihei Clark, on Johnson, and Kody Stattmann on CJ Bryce, play defense as it intended. Both those guys wanted penetration – got none – but shot right over Clark and Statts. Jay Huff, Woldetensae, Clark, Stattmann, and Morsell all have to be wide open to even get the shot off. Key can take the shot, except he’s not going to make it.